If elected, he will serve (time)

How bad are things for Republicans in Minnesota’s Fourth Congressional District (the greater St. Paul area in which I live)? Well, we’re a little concerned that a guy named Jack Shepard may win the Republican primary and earn the right to run for Congress as the party’s endorsed candidate against incumbent Democrat Betty McCollum. Tomorrow’s Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

There may be a few problems with Dr. Jack Shepard’s Republican candidacy for Congress in the St. Paul area, if he’s the Jack Shepard authorities think he is:
1) He isn’t a licensed doctor, his Minnesota dental license having been revoked in 1983 on grounds his untreated manic depression posed a threat to patients.
2) He apparently is living in Italy and shows little willingness to meet state and federal residency requirements for election, perhaps because doing so could get him arrested as a fugitive from justice.
3) He is a convicted sex and drug offender who spent time in prison before fleeing the country in 1982 while facing felony arson charges connected with a fire that heavily damaged his Minneapolis home and dental office. He has been charged with making terroristic threats, and a firearms violation…
Hennepin County [the greater Minneapolis area] authorities are convinced that the fugitive and the candidate are one and the same based on information on the Web site, including pictures of his old Air Force ID card with fingerprints included and his canceled passport. They share the same full name and date of birth, and old police mug shots of the criminal resemble those of the candidate on the Web site.
Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar said Thursday that her office is hoping to seek Shepard’s extradition if federal authorities can find him and arson witnesses can be located almost 22 years after the crime. According to a criminal complaint, a woman saw Shepard leaving the scene of the late-night arson in his black Corvette, a day after he was informed of a state audit of his patient welfare reimbursement claims.

The Star Tribune takes a little too much pleasure in recounting Shepard’s problems; I have no reason to think that he will defeat our endorsed candidate (Patrice Battaglia) in the primary. But I’ll worry until he loses. The Star Tribune story is “Minnesota house hopeful may be fugitive.”

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